In 1972, Hyman Minsky described the "period of financial distress," in a paper in a journal that no longer exists (Reappraisal of the Federal Reserve Discount Mechanism, vol. 3, pp. 97-136), "Financial Instability: The Economics of Disaster." Charles P. Kindleberger picked up on this and followed Minsky's analysis in his famous book, _Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises_, the 4th edn of which appeared in 2000 (the last one by him; he is now dead, but the pubbers have others hacking away at it for more editions, gag). The period of financial distress is a gradual decline after the peak of a speculative bubble that precedes the final and massive panic and crash, driven by the insiders having exited but the sucker outsiders hanging on hoping for a revivial, but finally giving up in the final collapse. According to Appendix B of Kindleberger's 2000 edition, 37 of the 47great historical speculative bubbles exhibited such a period before the final crash, even though all the theoretical models predict a crash immediately following the peak with no such period.
In 1991 I published the first mathematical model of such a phenomenon in my book _From Catastrophe to Chaos: A General Theory of Economic Discontinuities_ (Kluwer, Chap. 5), still my most cited work at over 150 according to Google Scholar, although nobody seems to have noticed this particular contribution in the book. In 1997, I published a paper describing this model (and related matters) in a paper that reproduced a plenary lecture given in 1996 in Berkeley, "Speculations on Nonlinear Speculative Bubbles," Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Oct. 1997, vo. 1, no. 4, pp. 275-300. This paper has never been cited. More recently I have coauthored a paper that has been under long review by a journal (now under a long revise and resubmit, still waiting for an answer) with Mauro Gallegati and Antonio Palestrini, "The Period of Financial Distress in Speculative Markets: Interacting Heterogeneous Agents and Financial Constraints" (available at my website: http://cob.jmu.edu/rosserjb), that lays all this out in much more up-to-date mathematical modeling.
So, why am I boring all of you with this self-citation? Well, Dean Baker is constantly claiming credit for his forecasts of doom and gloom. It looks like we might be finally reaching the big crash in the US mortgage market after a period of distress that started last August (if not earlier). I and my coauthors are the only people to have provided actually formal models of this phenomenon, beyond the verbal and historical discussions provided by the brilliant Minsky and Kindleberger (both of whom I knew, but both of whom are now dead). I have been forecasting this in unpublished lectures all over the globe for years, but never have put it up into the blogosphere. So, I am claiming credit, to the extent it is due, although the basic ideas were clearly laid out earlier by Minsky and Kindleberger.
I will add one more story. Three years ago I presented an earlier version of the still-unpublished paper with Gallegati and Palestrini in Tokyo at Chuo University. In the middle of the presentation the biggest earthquake in 13 years hit Tokyo, in fact right at the moment I said the word, "crash." Some of the Japanese in the audience blamed me, not entirely humorously, for having caused it.